Orlando Bloom for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

Orlando Bloom, often private and relatively shy, walks into a Beverly Hills hotel room more buoyant than usual. Perhaps he has World Cup soccer on his mind, rather than pirates and stardom. “England’s going to win, right?” he says, too loudly for comfort. But Bloom has reason to be pleased with himself, football madness aside. He recently escorted girlfriend Kate Bosworth to her Superman Returns premiere, giving her and his closest competition high marks. “It’s great and I’m very proud of her.”

Then when not promoting another blockbuster, the young Brit is relaxing during this Northern hemisphere summer. “I’ve been in London, hanging out, catching up with friends. It’s been good, beautiful weather and watching the football.” Yet as upbeat and relaxed as he is, Bloom is setting sail opposite heavyweights Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley in a second instalment of Pirates of the Caribbean, laughingly admitting that it was easy for the actor to rediscover his inner Pirate once again. “This time my character goes from being a straight-laced kind of upright stick in the mud to becoming more of a bit of a pirate in this one, thankfully. It was kind of like discovering my inner pirate for the first time in a way.”

In the latest Pirates adventure, Captain Jack Sparrow discovers he owes a blood debt to the legendary Davey Jones, Captain of the ghostly Flying Dutchman. With time running out, Jack must find a way out of his debt or else be doomed to eternal damnation and servitude in the afterlife. Making matters worse, Sparrow’s problems manage to interfere with the wedding plans of Bloom’s Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann [Knightley], who are forced to join Jack on yet another one of his misadventures. Bloom says that playing a pirate is yet another way to fulfil the actor’s childhood fantasies. “My whole career has been fulfilling my childhood fantasies, playing characters that are larger than life, getting to play a knight, an elf, a prince, and a soldier. I’ve really lived out all of my childhood fantasies, so “Pirates” wasn’t like living out another childhood fantasy, but just a great opportunity to work with some great people (like) Johnny Depp. That was a big draw, having always admired him as a young actor. When I signed up to do the first one it was a matter of wanting to be on set with somebody like him, to see how he handles himself, to see how he goes about it, which was a real privilege.”

Bloom is currently finishing the third Pirates movie, and doesn’t feel quite so exhausted shooting both films back to back. “It’s a real ensemble movie so it’s not like I’m on the whole time, but it was a challenge in a way because you’ve got the arc of two movies to cover. You can shoot a scene from the second movie in the morning and the third movie in the afternoon and trying to remember where your character is emotionally at that point in the movie can be a bit more challenging. You just have to play the truth of the moment and thankfully we got great writers to create great stories and characters and develop it so it’s not just one note.”

It is not Bloom’s first experience making more than one film as part of a series, simultaneously. There was, after all, that miniscule trilogy called Lord of the Rings, but Bloom is hesitant to draw too many comparisons between the two experiences. “Lord of the Rings was my first experience making movies and at the time, I had no ideas how movies were done. I thought that’s the way they’re done, so in a way, I had nothing to compare it to. But you still have to think about where in that development you are and sometimes, when you shoot one movie, you have to think about that anyway, but that’s one movie. With two, a lot more time passes, and a lot more development happens, so you’ve got to keep jumping back and forward doing that kind of dance. The great thing about working on something like “Pirates,” is that you don’t really know what to expect. Going to see it, it’s like a feast for the eyes.”

In this Pirates movie, audiences will see a few hair raising moments, but the actor won’t be drawn on whether there’ll be equally frenzied moments in next year’s Pirates conclusion. “How can they top this one? They seem to keep topping it. I’m trying to remember the third one, because we’re still shooting.” As to what is beyond Pirates 3, Bloom is keeping his options open. “There are a couple of things I’m looking at, but one of them I’m not sure if I’m going to be doing in the next couple of months or at the end of Pirates (3). It just depends on scheduling.”

Bloom’s career has skyrocketed, and with success, comes the inevitability of fame and tabloid reporting on his every movie. And the actor admits he hasn’t reacted so well to the intrusions into his private life. “Terribly and awfully, if the truth be known. You tell me. How does it look from the outside? I can tell you it’s terrifying on the inside.” He smilingly adds that hides out from the paparazzi in “a couple of caves. I like to bury myself in them and stay right out of the limelight. It’s a process, man.” Yet pausing reflectively, he concedes that “I wouldn’t change it, because I love to do what I do.” Even if that means still fighting off teenage girls. “Bring ’em on! Fight them off? Don’t be crazy. What do I look like?”

And for more of Orlando, the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven hits DVD shelves this month, and that alone, makes the actor’s day. “I say go out and buy the long version, mate. I’m so happy to have been a part of that process and I would go straight back into the desert in a ton of chain mail for Ridley any day of the week. He’s an amazing director and I can’t wait to see the long version.”